Self consciousness vs Consciousness

Are they the opposite of each other?one the subset of the other? is everything just one thing and we are just conceptualizing it into 2 things?
Do we meditate on ourselves till the point we get so comfortable with ourselves that self consciousness is transformed into expanding consciousness?
Can our single pointed attention solve any problem? Fears, distractions, obsessions etc?

The real meaning of something can be understood from its opposite

Like take the example of music, you truly enjoy it only after a long silence or if you do a totally unrelated task which required your concentration. Thirst is truly felt only when you are deprived of water for long enough with strenuous activity alongside. You start noticing the faintest of lights in a dark room if you stay awake there for more than 10-20mins.

Desire makes you feel incomplete

Before desire originates we are complete and a whole – left figure. Once we see something attractive that we want to possess a sort of sinking hole is created in our chest – ‘right figure’ and makes us feel incomplete and there is a desire to fill this lack up by acquiring the person/item/idea etc.

Manipulation by people

The first picture shows the real objective picture/reality – all the circles and lines represent associations in the brain. The 2nd one shows the same picture but after I have been influenced by other people’s opinions – red and green shows the bias, desirable/undesirable. Some people are ridiculously opinionated. For every single concept even they have a good/bad judgment about it. Mostly their views are completely untrue and extremely biased. The problem is that we tend to first believe in something then logically analyze it if its true or not. Also, when you don’t know about a particular subject, its an even bigger problem and in group discussions these guys just keep littering opinions after opinions with a surprising amount of confidence. Its a pain to keep your guard all the time to ensure you don’t get affected. Usually I temporarily get this cataract like vision and then it takes me a few hours alone and some thinking to get back my original views. Every single thing is packaged into a box with a label of either good/bad/desirable/undesirable etc and the sad part is that, these people have no clue that there knowledge is just a distorted version through the screen of their thinking. Surprisingly such people elicit good social support and many people actually support their distorted views. This is what is real education, that WE DON’T KNOW and no one can have absolute knowledge and we need to have a certain degree of humility.

The thinking process

We could break down the process of what we call thinking into 3 elemantary processes:
1. Analysis 
– how, when, what, where, which , who etc.
2. Comparison
– The most common points of Comparison, for the purpose of discovering “likeness” and “unlikeness,” are as follows: Name; Place; Time; Shape; Cause; Effect; Use; Actions; General Idea or Character; History; Origin; and Destination
– Used to build the web network of associations
3. Classification
Concept formation
The value of our ‘Thought’ depends largely upon the correctness of our Concepts
4. Reasoning
Reasoning presents itself as a short cut to knowledge—a formula by means of which we may acquire knowledge from general principles
(1) Reasoning by Analogy – “If two things resemble each other in many points, they will probably resemble each other in more points”
(2) Reasoning by Induction – “What is true of the many is true of the whole”, based on the belief of uniformity of Nature
(3) Reasoning by Deduction- syllogism, “What is true of the whole, is true of its parts”

Here is an extract from the article:
It talks about the comparison phase.

Experience, however, has given the race the almost intuitive and instinctive realization of “the pairs of opposites,” or “contradictories.” So true is this that the trained mind instinctively leaps to the thought of an “opposite” at the same time that it is considering any given quality. It thinks of this “opposite” not because of its “likeness” to the thing under consideration, but because of its “un-likeness” or difference. So true is this that psychologists hold that we can obtain a clearer and more distinct idea or mental image of anything if we will at the same time think of its “opposite”—either its opposite quality, or a thing whose qualities are markedly opposite to that of the thing under consideration. In associating a thing with others in our memory, or thought, we do so by (1) association with “like” things, and (2) by association with “unlike” ones. The greater the “likeness” the greater is the strength and value of the first form of association; and the greater the “unlikeness” the greater is the strength and value of the second form.

So if you have realized the ‘nothingness’ state of mind, anything when compared to that is full and complete knowledge giving ultimate satisfaction of ‘real knowing’.

Some more interesting points from the article:

– Words do not convey thoughts; they are not vehicles of thoughts in any true sense of that term. A word is merely a common symbol which each person associates with his own idea or image.

– In syllogism, question the major premise and the whole chain is broken

– It is not a sound argument, nor logical reasoning, to appeal from the principle under consideration to the personal practices of the person advocating the practice. For instance, a man arguing the advantages of Temperance may be very intemperate himself; but to point to his intemperate habits is no proof or argument that the principle of Temperance is incorrect. A proposition is either true or untrue, regardless of the personal character of the persons advocating or presenting it.

-“Many persons reason from their feelings rather than from their intellect. They seek and advance not true reasons, but excuses. They seek to prove a thing to be true, simply because they want it to be true. The tendency is to see only those facts which agree with our likes, or are in line with our prejudices; and to ignore the other set of facts. Such persons unconsciously assume the mental attitude which may be expressed as follows: ‘If the facts do not agree with my pet theories or prejudices, so much the worse for the facts.'”

-“Nine times out of ten, to argue with any man on a subject that engages his emotions is to waste breath. His mind is not open to logical persuasion. His emotions first determines his opinion and then prompt his logical faculties to devise plausible excuses for it. There is a thing that psychologists call a ‘complex.’ It consists of an idea charged with emotion, and it operates as a sort of colored screen in front of the mind. A man whose emotions are deeply engaged on one side of a question may think that he is reasoning about it. But, in fact, he may be incapable of reasoning about it, because whatever impressions his mind receives in that connection come through his complex and take no color. His logical faculties operate only by way of inventing plausible defenses for the judgment his emotions have already formed. It is impossible to change his position in any respect by reasoning, because reason cannot touch his mind until his emotions have dealt with it and made it conform to their color. Whenever you talk to a person with a strong bias on any particular subject, which bias does not coincide with your own bias, talk to him about something else.”

–  Useful line of thought: “What practical difference will it make if I hold one opinion or another? How will my belief influence my action?’ (using the word ‘action’ in its broadest sense). This may often lead our line of inquiry into more fruitful channels, keep us from making fine but needless distinctions, help us to word our question more relevantly, and lead us to make distinctions where we really need them.”

Perplexing Questions

Does music intrinsically create a feeling in us? OR is the feeling due to association from the past? Do we consciously recreate the visuals/talk in the mind or is it automatic from the subconscious? Can we learn to detach from associations? Are we programmed according to our genetic makeup that makes hearing certain kinds of music an intrinsically rewarding experience? OR do all these 3 aspects feed on each other?

What arises first – feelings or does memory create a feeling? Is it like the ‘what came first – chicken or egg’ Q? Are all our feelings – memory associations mostly created in childhood after which we spend most of our lives trying to get them back? Is that what decides our love-map? Is it in our genes or biological makeup to derive good feelings/pleasures from certain activities? What is the impact of social conditioning vs our basic hardware? Do all 3 feed on each other?

Is our whole life just about chemical reactions?Avoiding the unpleasant one and seeking the pleasurable ones, most of which has been refined through evolution? Is meaning just an illusion, or can all the complexity that we have in our lives today be traced to simple evolutionary desires? As a counter argument, we have consciousness that we use to take actions which results in chemicals. So consciousness is the driver. In that case, can consciousness exist independent of a brain? I think a brain transplant will open up some fascinating insights into the consciousness/mind/brain relationships.

Aftermath of watching a movie and problems with theater watching

A good movie completely grips your attention and is cathartic is ways. The emotional and deep movies make you ride a roller coaster of emotions (provided you allow yourself to be fully sensitive) and bring you to a deep alpha state at the end of it. I believe that along with enjoying the movie, the state of mind just after watching it is to be relished too. I think this state can last pretty long up to 1/2-1hr after, if you allow it to stay.

I’ve always found movie watching in the theater to be an incomplete experience. Incomplete to quite a degree, but I couldn’t really conceptualize what the problems were. After repeated analysis, I think I hit upon the main points. Here they are:

1. In theaters, firstly the interval is distracting and frankly,
2. Constantly munching something is a distraction from the real movie experience. Your attention needs to be gripped and locked all through for you to really feel its depth and cathartic effect.
3. Additionally, when you go with friends, there is this small talk that you need to keep doing now and then. Even a single interruption breaks the thread of alpha state.
4. After the movie is over, the subtitles start and usually the music/visuals is stimulating and flowing but in the theater you need to immediately start moving. This feels really uncomfortable and abrupt in so many ways, according to me. Not only do you not get to dwell in that awesome mental state, you miss out on the ending music/visuals and you have to start hearing the chatter of everyone around you. 5. The social energy around immediately shifts you back to beta state.
6. Then you have to encounter road noise, have some discussion or small talk with friends and that’s the last nail in the coffin for the alpha state.

A highly enjoyable and desirable state we pursue in life is “A State of flow”. Gripping Movies/Novels take us really close to it which is why they are so popular. So I think this feeling needs to be experienced in its entirety with full awareness to derive maximum fulfillment and satisfaction.

Concentration and Love

I think love that we know colloquially is attachment which could easily transform into hate. For e,g.: If you put 2 ‘Ex lovers’ together and monitor their brain activity, even if there are 10 other people in the room, they would be giving each other at least 50% of their attention, partly subconsciously. Somehow, in my experience, even if I try hard not to, my attention is drawn towards the people I concentrate / have concentrated upon in the past.

So its like, you concentrate on the good things initially for a long period of time and your mind gets stuck with it and you subconscious begin to give much greater attention to this person. Once the breakup happens, you try to detach by trying to see only the ugly in the person which makes the relationship transform into hate. But you are still concentrating on the ugly. That’s what makes detachment paradoxical. Hate and love might just be the same thing. Maybe if we fully concentrate on something for whatever it is with full acceptance, that might be true love.

We all concentrate upon those things we love, and we love those things upon which we concentrate our minds. To detach is the skill that’ll prevent hate from happening and also free the attention for the next object/next moment. Plain observation without judgment I think is the only way to detach.

Unusual things that I really enjoy

Possessing measuring instruments in all domains thinkable. I would like to use them in varied situations and really study phenomena. I would like it to have maximal resolution and range.
1. Measuring light level – LUX meter, Range – 0 LUX to Extreme sunlight
2. Measuring sound – Decibel meter, Range – 15db to 140db
3. Measuring weight in 3 ranges – 2kg to 200kg, 1gm – 5kg, 1/1000gm level
4. Measuring wind speed – Barometer – from 0.1kmph to 150kmph
5. Measuring brain waves 1hz – 200hz Portable EEG
6. Measuring electricity – A simple multimeter
7. Measuring Temperature – Pointer type or normal, range – -50 deg C to 150deg C
8. Measuring Basal metabolic rate, Fat %, muscle mass, Calories in food, Other health related stuf
9. Also like measuring(subjective) emotions and mood using scales like x/10
10. Like to measure the distance between memories  – not by the clock time passed but just by comparing how vivid and real it feels

Instruments that help extend senses.
1. Seeing – Binoculars, Telescope, Microscope, Night vision, Digital camera for storing
2. Hearing – Stethoscope, Sound amplifier and Recorder
3. Smell – I wish something existed, perfumes maybe
4. Taste – Something that would help enhance it, e.g.: some wines
5. Touch – The only think that helps here is concentration or taking weed etc.
6. Mind – Anything on the computer is an extension of the mind and can also store stuff

Anything related to astronomy and comparing interstellar distances.
1. Science fiction stuff like e.g.: Warp drives, space sails
2. Concepts like Black holes, Star formation, Wormholes
3. Space-time fabric and gravity concepts
4. Imagining the magnitudes of distances by shrinking to imaginable scales

Work on creating analogies and interrelating day to day concepts with my findings. I believe analogies serve as a higher form of communication in the order “Analogies < Advanced vocabulary < Simple words". After reading on totally open ended subjects, I like to synthesize everything in the form of analogies. E.g.: Analogy between studying and driving: India vs US.

I enjoy making creative connections using mind maps. Basically totally exploiting the visual medium along with the verbal one we used most often.